There are an estimated 20 million victims of sex trafficking and forced labor in the United States and around the world today. This multi-billion-dollar illicit industry helps fund international criminal networks and even terrorist groups, threatening U.S. national security and international stability. Human traffickers steal their victims’ lives, and destroy families and communities.

Stopping these horrific crimes is a top priority for the House and its Foreign Affairs Committee. That’s why tomorrow, the House will vote on three bipartisan bills to target human traffickers – including Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2200).  Specifically, this bill:

  • provides a four-year extension of the successful Trafficking Victims Protection Act before it expires on September 30;
  • reforms and improves U.S. foreign and domestic anti-trafficking programs;
  • strengthens the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report and Country Tier Rankings by removing the possibility of manipulation for diplomatic, economic, or political considerations; and
  • amends the Child Soldiers Prevention Act – which prevents partnerships between the U.S. military and foreign armed forces – to ensure children are not conscripted into “police” forces.

Also part of this bill is a provision authored by Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) – passed by the committee in May – that allows the State Department and law enforcement to turn the tables against international human traffickers by offering bounties for their arrest or conviction.

As Chairman Royce has said, “A reward on one’s head creates real fear for terrorists and criminals…  I want human traffickers to know the fear of being ‘hunted.’”